The nature of work has changed significantly over the past few decades; advancements in technology mean that modern workforces are better equipped to function with greater efficacy than ever before. Employees are able to communicate faster and more effectively, which means that businesses can provide more services, generate more revenue and improve operational efficiencies, all of which helps to achieve its business goals.
However, none of this would be tangible without attracting and retaining the right talent. Organisations are only as good as the people they employ, so keeping staff happy and satisfied should be a primary concern.
For many looking to get ahead of the competition, pay is seen as the greatest possible differentiating factor to improve the happiness of their employees. This is fundamentally flawed.
Instead, many organisations are looking at innovative ways to improve the work-life balance of employees to keep them engaged and happy. For example, New Zealand-based organisation Perpetual Guardian is trialling a four-day working week, while Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg, is piloting a six-hour working day for nurses in an eldercare facility. Both examples reported that productivity levels and the general happiness of employees improved dramatically.
While reduced hours may not be a tangible option for most organisations, one solution that could ensure great employee satisfaction is remote working.
In this digital age, employees are no longer confined to designated spaces, giving them the opportunity to work online, away from the office. This can help improve satisfaction among staff who are most productive when working away from the distracting office environment. Employers could benefit from this greatly because remote employees typically work for longer hours and take shorter breaks.
Remote staff are also happier because they tend to have the freedom to work wherever they like. In fact, James Liang, chief executive officer and co-founder at travel services provider CTrip, noticed this among the employees who worked from home and therefore decided to offer almost all staff the option to work remotely.
Another benefit is the expansion of the talent pool; the search for perfect candidates will no longer be geographically limited. Instead, employers will be able to hire the best talent, irrespective of their location. Finally, remote working will also help retain employees simply by giving them that extra bit of flexibility.
Pay is not everything and remote working has proven to be a great initiative that can help with improving employee satisfaction. It is proven to help staff have a healthy work-life balance, a stress-free work environment and more control over how and when they work, all of which keeps the workforce happier and reduces churn.
Karoli Hindriks is co-founder and chief executive officer at Jobbatical